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Vietnam Vet’s Remembrance Ceremony this weekend


May 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A ceremony honoring veterans of the Vietnam War will be held 10-a.m. Saturday in Des Moines. The event takes place at the Vietnam Memorial on the south side of the State Capital. The keynote address will be given by Vietnam Veteran, and former Army Nurse, Mary Ellen White. Dan Gannon, a platoon leader who was with the Marine Corps in Vietnam from 1969-to 1970 and was wounded in combat, says women who served in Vietnam were not given the recognition they deserved until 1993, when a memorial was erected in their honor near the Memorial Wall in Washington, D-C.

Gannon who’s a member of the Iowa Commission on Veteran’s Affairs, says more than 256,000 women served in the Army, Navy, and Air Force during the war years. Among them, 11,000, mostly nurses and medical specialists, served in-country and in or near combat zones. Eight nurses were killed in action during the war.

The event being held Saturday is the third in Iowa since a resolution was passed by the legislature in 2008, marking May 7th as the official Iowa Vietnam Veterans Memorial Day. Gannon says it serves as a precursor to an even bigger event scheduled to take place in September.

The Dignity Memorial provider network created the replica in 1990. Its black, reflective surface is inscribed with the names of more than 58,000 servicemen and women who died or are missing in Vietnam. The Wall arrive at Prairie Meadows Race Track and Casino, and be escorted to the RestHaven Cemetery at 19th and Ashworth in Des Moines, where it will be open for public viewing, beginning September 16th.

The Patriot and American Legion riders will be a part of the escort. Gannon says over 10,000 people are expected to visit the wall. Paper and pencils will be provided so visitors can make rubbings of names etched on the wall. Additional information will be made available to visitors at Saturday’s ceremony in Des Moines. Limited parking is available near the memorial. Additional parking is available to the east of the memorial, and near the Lucas Building.

The Iowa Vietnam Veteran’s Wall contains the names of 853 Iowans who died during the war, include four from Cass County.

CCMH Emergency Dept. entrance to be relocated


May 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic said today (Tuesday), that the Emergency Department Entrance at CCMH will be relocated effective May 4th, at 7-am. All traffic – private vehicles and ambulances – taking patients to the Emergency Department will need to use the south entrance off 10th Street, which used to be marked as Ambulance Only. Signs will be posted to direct traffic to the new Emergency Department entrance.

The ED Entrance is moving to a temporary location on the south end of the building where it will remain for about 18 months until the hospital addition, which includes a new Emergency Department, is completed. There will be signs inside the building to direct patients from the new entrance to the ED Admissions area. The actual Emergency Department and Admissions have not moved, but patients will be approaching from a different direction than before. The current ED entrance on the east side of the building will be unavailable due to the construction of the addition.

There will be very limited parking at the temporary entrance, so only vehicles bringing a patient for emergency care will be able to park at this entrance. Other people coming to the ED, either to check on an emergency patient or register for same day surgery, should continue to drive around the north end of the building to the East Entrance.

Lane restrictions on I-29 near Pacific Junction begin May 9


May 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – May 2, 2011 – Road construction work will cause lane restrictions in both directions of Interstate 29 from one mile south of the junction with U.S. 34 near Pacific Junction to just north of the rest areas in Mills County beginning May 9, weather permitting, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Council Bluffs construction office.

Traffic in this work zone will be restricted to one lane in each direction. Also, a 16-foot width lane restriction will be in place.

The project is expected to be completed in early December.

(DOT Press Release)

CAM Interim School Board approves early start application


May 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The CAM Community School District has approved applying to the Iowa Department of Education for permission to begin the 2011-2012 school year on August 17th, 2011.  Approval of the application to the D-E is necessary if districts wish to begin classes prior to September 1st. 

The D-E’s policy says classroom days for students can begin no sooner than the week in which Sept. 1 falls.  If Sept. 1 falls on Sunday, then classes may begin during the previous week, but the Department of Education has authority to grant an earlier start to classes based on the completion of the request for early start as part of the spring Basic Educational Data Survey (BEDS). Regardless of when classes start, all students in Iowa must attend 180 days of classes, with the exception of Seniors, who are required to attend 175 days. 

In other business, the CAM Board approved a fire safety project which Superintendent Steve Pelzer says will cost a total of $30,000. Pelzer says the project will correct some deficiencies in the fire warning system at the high school, and make some needed improvements. The fire panel would be repaired, smoke detectors replaced and strobe units installed in the classrooms, among other things. 

The Board also approved an agreement with the Cass County Educational Opportunity Center for the 2011-2012 school year. In his report to the Board, High School Prinicipal Dominic Giegerich said there will be some changes to the curriculum for the coming school year, including those will create a required junior English course. He says it will teach the components of composition to all students. In the past, the required courses stopped after the sophomore year.

“Mr. G” as he’s known, says also the requirement for oral communications will be eliminated and folded into the English class, along with grammatical coursework and literature. 

Superintendent Steve Pelzer says the move would eliminate the need to share a teacher with another district, and will serve to increase the amount of reading and writing the students will be required to do.

Harkin Staff to Hold Open Listening Session in Atlantic


May 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, IOWA – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today (Monday) announced that his staff assistant Kevin Condon will hold a meeting in Atlantic on Friday, May 6th to listen to constituents’ views on a wide variety of issues. Residents can express their opinions about current legislative issues or seek assistance if they are having problems with a federal agency.

The meeting will take place from 2:30-3:30 PM Friday, at the Chamber of Commerce Office, which is located at 102 Chestnut Street, in Atlantic.

(Press Release)

King, Grassley, Harkin Ask that AMP Study Be Made Public; Request Second Public Hearing on Mail Processing


May 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Washington, DC – Congressman Steve King and Senators Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin wrote to the United States Postal Service today (Monday), to ask that the Postal Service make public the details of the Area Mail Processing (AMP) Study that is being used by the Postal Service to weigh a move of Sioux City’s mail processing operations to Sioux Falls. The Congressman and Senators also asked that the Postal Service hold an additional public meeting once the AMP is released in order to give Sioux City’s residents and community and business leaders the opportunity to offer informed input about the AMP study, its data, and its conclusions.

The letter from the Congressman and Senators responds to an April 22nd letter to the elected officials from Marie Therese Dominguez, United States Postal Service Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy. In her letter, Vice President Dominguez offered to meet with the Congressman and Senators to explain the methodology and findings of the Sioux City AMP study rather than release a copy of the study as they had requested.

Statement of Congressman Steve King: “The Siouxland Community cannot be expected to offer constructive input regarding the proposed consolidation of mail processing operations if they are not given any information about the rationale being used by the Postal Service to justify this move. Hundreds of concerned residents showed up at a town hall last week hoping to find out some details about the AMP study, but all they got was a lot of general talk about the Postal Service’s need to cut costs and maximize efficiencies. I am certain that Sioux City’s residents and community and business leaders can help the Postal Service come up with a rational proposal to cut costs and maximize efficiency in mail processing in northwest Iowa. To do so, however, they must have access to the facts, figures, and data.”

Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley: “The public meeting wasn’t much more than window dressing by the Postal Service. If the Postal Service is sincere about wanting public input, it needs to be open and forthcoming about the rationale behind its proposal. Otherwise, there’s nothing specific for the public to comment on and, in the end, the Postal Service won’t have considered public input in a very meaningful way.”

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin: “Absent further details from the Postal Service regarding how it derived its supposed savings from the closure of the AMP, closure of the AMP would be irresponsible, costing Sioux City critical jobs and threatening to delay to delivery of mail to Iowans. Given recent job losses elsewhere in Sioux City, and the resulting economic impact, the Postal Service’s attitude of “trust us” just isn’t good enough. I’m proud of Sioux City’s efforts to maintain the processing facility and to find reasonable ways to bring down costs without threatening the livelihood of dozens of Sioux City residents. At the first public meeting in Sioux City on the possible AMP closure, my office specifically requested a second meeting following the release of the study. This remains the proper course of action and I will continue to press the Postal Service for this public meeting.”

Bluffs man found guilty of 2nd degree murder


May 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A jury in Pottawttamie County, Monday, handed-down a “guilty” verdict against a Council Bluffs man in connection with the January 14th, 2011 stabbing death of 39-year old Tammy Rocha. 47-year old Clarence Woolsoncroft was found guilty of second-degree murder and two lesser crimes. 

He had faced charges of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree robbery and conspiracy, but after eight hours of deliberations, jurors only found him guilty of second-degree murder, false imprisonment and willful injury causing serious injury. Second-degree murder carries a mandatory 50-year prison sentence. A mandatory minimum time of 70 percent of the sentence – or 35 years – must be served before being eligible for parole. The jury decided Woolsoncroft was not guilty of conspiracy. 

Woolsoncroft’s Attorney, Joseph Reedy said the jury’s decision would be appealed. Sentencing in the matter is scheduled for June 6th. 

Rocha was stabbed multiple times in January and found in the street near 35th Street and Fifth Avenue in Council Bluffs. Woolsoncroft, in a taped interview with Council Bluffs police detectives, said he took Rocha to a residence on Fifth Avenue on Jan. 14, because Lisa Reeves – who also faces murder charges – told him she would “make it worth his while.” He said he assumed she meant she would give him drugs or money. Woolsoncroft told investigators that he never saw anyone stab Rocha after he drove her to the scene of her death. 

Both Lisa Reeves – whom prosecutors allege stabbed Rocha – and her father, Bryan Reeves, face similar charges in the incident. Their trials are scheduled separately at a later date.

Atlantic arrests


May 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department reports five people were arrested over the past few days. On Sunday, 18-year old Scott Jackson, of Atlantic, was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. 27-year old Cody Hanson, of Atlantic, was arrested for Public Intoxication.

And, 25-year old Tony Mayo, Jr., of Atlantic, was arrested on a Cass County Warrant issued April 28th charging him with Possession of Marijuana and Possession of drug paraphernalia. Mayo, Jr. posted a $1,500 bond Monday, and was ordered to appear in court Thursday afternoon.

On Saturday, officers with the A-P.D. arrested 25-year old Zebedee Joiner, of Atlantic, on a charge of 5th degree theft. And, last Thursday, 54-year old Robin Jennings, of Atlantic, was arrested on an assault charge.

With the exception of Tony Mayo, Jr., each of the other individuals were brought to the Cass County Jail and held pending an appearance before the magistrate.

Montgomery County arrests


May 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports two men were arrested Monday on unrelated charges. 27-year old Garrett Alan Winther, of Villisca, was taken into custody Monday morning, on a warrant for theft in the 5th degree.

And, 39-year old Jason Ray Cornelison, of Red Oak, was arrested Monday afternoon, on an April 25th bench warrant for violation of his probation. Cornelison was originally charged back in April, with Possession of a Controlled Substance, 3rd offense.

Atlantic accidents


May 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Two, non-injury accidents were reported in Atlantic over the weekend.

According to the Atlantic Police Department, Paul Willenbring, of Lisbon, was cited Friday for failure to obey a stop or yield sign, after his vehicle collided with one driven by Daniel Huey, of Atlantic. The accident happened at the intersection of 10th and Palm Streets, at around 3:25-p.m. Damage from the mishap amounted to $6,500.

And, Brandon Jacobsen, of Atlantic, was cited Saturday, for Failure to obey a traffic control device, after the vehicle he was driving collided with one driven by Stuart Hoegh, of Atlantic, at 8th and Chestnut Streets. The crash, which happened at around 8:45-p.m., caused an estimated $7,500 damage.